Raikkonen claims Italian Grand Prix pole with fastest ever F1 lap

- Advertisement -

Kimi Raikkonen put his Ferrari on pole position for the Italian Grand Prix with the fastest lap ever recorded in Formula One history.

Lewis Hamilton appeared set to secure the front slot of the grid in Monza, but he was bumped down to third after Raikkonen and rival Sebastian Vettel usurped him in a frantic finale.

Raikkonen and Vettel will form the front row to the delight of the tifosi with Hamilton having it all to do behind the Ferrari cars on their home turf.

Ferrari’s front-row triumph is their first in Italy since 2000, while it also marked Raikkonen’s first since last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who holds a 17-point championship lead over Vettel, set the fastest lap on the opening runs in the shoot-out for pole before Raikkonen returned to take the spoils.

Raikkonen’s lap, which was in excess of an average speed of 163mph, eclipsed the sport’s quickest lap, set here by Juan Pablo Montoya for Williams, in 2004.

At 38 years and 320 days Raikkonen is also the oldest pole sitter at an F1 race since 41-year-old Nigel Mansell started from the front at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix.

“It is the best place to be, and it went right in the end,” said Raikkonen. “Being one and two is great for Ferrari, but it is only half the job done.”

Vettel added: “It wasn’t my best lap, but well done to Kimi. I am not entirely happy with the end of my qualifying and that is the emotion that is dominating now. It says passion on the Ferrari banner and that is exactly what the fans have.”

Hamilton, who was booed by the tifosi, said: “The second lap was still good, but it could have been better, but it was just amazing how intense it was, and that is how racing should be.”

Valtteri Bottas was a distant fourth for Mercedes, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fifth and Romain Grosjean sixth.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s days at McLaren are numbered after an underwhelming season, and on Saturday, there was little to boost the Belgian’s spirits as he qualified last for a second successive weekend.

Vandoorne has failed to take the stride forwards that McLaren will have hoped, and indeed, expected in his second year. He has been slower than team-mate Fernando Alonso, who finished 13th, in every qualifying round this term.

Zak Brown, the McLaren chief executive, insisted on Saturday that Vandoorne is an option for next season, but the team’s reserve driver, and British teenager, Lando Norris, is seemingly the number one contender to land the vacant seat in 2019.

For Alonso, his final flying run was scuppered after he and Kevin Magnussen came close to a clumsy collision at the opening corner. Alonso accused the Dane of wanting to race before Brown and Haas chief Guenther Steiner argued over the incident in the pit lane.

Miraculously, Marcus Ericsson was back in the Sauber cockpit only 24 hours after his staggering crash in practice. The Swedish driver, 27, was given the all-clear by doctors to compete in his repaired machinery and he qualified 19th of the 20 runners.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg will be last on the grid after he was penalised 10 places for his role in last weekend’s first-corner crash. Daniel Ricciardo is also set to be on the back row after the Red Bull man was hit with a series of penalties for taking on new engine parts.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.